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PGCE vs BA(Hons) Primary Education (Initial Teacher Education)

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    I am having trouble deciding between doing a PGCE and a BA(Hons) Primary Education (Initial Teacher Education).

    Has anyone else done either course or similar?

    what are the pros and cons of them?
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    PGCE - Gives you more options of careers which is good if you're not sure you definately want to be a teacher but PGCE's are very difficult to get onto so may not be able to go straight into teaching after your undergraduate degree. Less experience in schools so may feel more thrown in at the deep end when you get a teaching job.

    Ba Primary - More hands on experience in schools so more preparation for when you actually get a teaching job at the end, you would learn more in depth about each subject but less options afterwards (the degree is designed to lead to teaching so might be more difficult to change careers if you want to in the future).
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    In terms of career prospects they're basically the same, however, with the Undergrad route you will spend three years learning how to teach, so you'll have more knowledge in my opinion. Also, undergrad is preferred by schools because you've chosen that and are dedicated to teaching, not simply entering the profession because there are no jobs.

    PGCE's are great to have after an undergrad degree as it's flexible, but so, so much harder. My friend is doing 70 hours work in 6 days and then sleeps all of sunday to recover. I however do ITT as an Undergrad and I do half of what he does. And the same amount of time in schools.
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    (Original post by Mr. Approachable)
    Also, undergrad is preferred by schools because you've chosen that and are dedicated to teaching, not simply entering the profession because there are no jobs.
    That just isn't true and you know it.

    There are loads of reasons why people opt to do a PGCE rather than an undergrad degree. A lot of people don't decide or realise they have an interest in teaching until later in life when they already have a degree and other people know they want to teach but decide to do a normal degree first and then a PGCE anyway. I fall into this category - I've wanted to be a teacher since I was about 7 and always assumed I'd do an undergraduate degree. I then realised I couldn't let go of academia and my love of studying, so did a normal degree first with the intention of doing a PGCE later. Postgraduate entrants often have a lot of life experience that they can bring to the classroom from other work, travel or jobs. This is invaluable in education, particularly at primary level - there is absolutely no way at all that someone is not dedicated to teaching simply because they've done a postgraduate course. Its a ridiculous assertion for you to attempt to make.

    A primary school head teacher is honestly not going to look at a postgraduate applicant and think "damn, this person has clearly only done a PGCE because they couldn't get a job in another sector.... they're so not dedicated to being a teacher otherwise they would have opted to do it at 18" .... and anyway, its hardly like there's loads of jobs to go around in the primary sector!

    At the end of the day, its down to personal circumstance and situation as to which route people chose and its very much swings and roundabouts. I could easily argue that a postgraduate entrant is better equiped for their NQT year as they're generally older, with more life experience and have a greater understanding of full time teaching whereas an undergraduate student has only spent a couple of weeks at a time in school during their degree meaning they're more likely to feel overwhelmed when they start their NQT year.
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    That just isn't true and you know it.
    I posted it because I have been told this by all 5 Headteachers of the 5 schools I have visited. I have also been told it by roughly.... 9 graduates of undergrad Primary, who have said this is what comes up in Staffroom discussion. Personally, if I was a Headteacher I wouldn't mind if my staff did PGCE's or undergrad. I am merely passing on information.
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    (Original post by Mr. Approachable)
    I posted it because I have been told this by all 5 Headteachers of the 5 schools I have visited. I have also been told it by roughly.... 9 graduates of undergrad Primary, who have said this is what comes up in Staffroom discussion. Personally, if I was a Headteacher I wouldn't mind if my staff did PGCE's or undergrad. I am merely passing on information.
    I have to say I have never ever had a conversation with anyone in teaching where they've gone "oh yes well undergraduate teachers are always preferred because those postgraduate trained teachers are really not dedicated to teaching. They're only doing it because they couldn't get a job in another sector, don't you know" and I'd think it would be incredibly odd to ever be partaking in such a conversation when it blatantly isn't true and everyone knows it.

    You've been told something by a handful of people which you now seem to have over exaggerated here as like I said, that'd be such an odd odd comment for someone to make. That doesn't make it fact in the way you were attempting to imply in your post.
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    I decided on a PGCE so am half way through my degree. Chose to do it this way as teaching is oversubscribed as it is so if I have a degree outside of teaching I am more employable to other companies, whilst perhaps waiting for a chance to be a teacher Just liked to keep my options open. Plus, it takes the same amount of time to do a degree and PGCE as it does for primary education.
    About the experience, I have been in a school for four weeks during summer back home and now volunteer one day a week at a school close to university. Uni's ask for a minimum of 10 days for a PGCE so as long as you gain some experience you'll be fine. In addition, half of the PGCE is placement, so plenty of experience there too.
    It's all down to personal choice and preference
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    (Original post by oxymoronic)
    I have to say I have never ever had a conversation with anyone in teaching where they've gone "oh yes well undergraduate teachers are always preferred because those postgraduate trained teachers are really not dedicated to teaching. They're only doing it because they couldn't get a job in another sector, don't you know" and I'd think it would be incredibly odd to ever be partaking in such a conversation when it blatantly isn't true and everyone knows it.

    You've been told something by a handful of people which you now seem to have over exaggerated here as like I said, that'd be such an odd odd comment for someone to make. That doesn't make it fact in the way you were attempting to imply in your post.
    Well it's what I've been told so that's that. There are differing opinions on basically everything in the teaching profession. One head says he would only consider a PGCE applicant. Another says he often chooses all undergrads for interview.

    And I have to add I think it incredibly rude to be ignored when I have quoted you at least twice and sent you a PM regarding how you did in your interview for the teaching post.
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    I'm in the exact same boat as you. My head of sixth form told me that it would not make a difference but I need to be prepared to work as hard as I can at whatever undergraduate course I choose (for me its Psychology and Educational Development) so that I can get the best possible qualification possible and increase my chances of gettting onto a PGCE.

    I double checked this opinion with 3 other teachers whom I trust and they told me to go with whatever feels right, and what ever I will enjoy the most. For me, it sounsd like I will enjoy the Psyc and Edu Development, so if I get a place there, I will be highly considering it!

    Good luck making a decision
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    (Original post by Mr. Approachable)
    Well it's what I've been told so that's that. There are differing opinions on basically everything in the teaching profession. One head says he would only consider a PGCE applicant. Another says he often chooses all undergrads for interview.

    And I have to add I think it incredibly rude to be ignored when I have quoted you at least twice and sent you a PM regarding how you did in your interview for the teaching post.
    I get a lot of PMs and quotes - I'm a mod of a very very time intensive part of the site. I don't reply to everything as I can't and sometimes they get lost/forgotten about in all of my other quotes if they're not urgent. That has nothing to do with this at all so I'm not sure why you feel the need to bring it up If you really must know, I didn't get that job. The reason I didn't get the job is because I don't have a maths degree - this is what they said at the interview as their reasoning for giving the job to another candidate. A maths degree wasn't specified in the person specification or job description and obviously they know my undergraduate degree from my application form, which begs the question of why did they bother to interview me. This is the realities of applying for jobs right now as you get rejected for things beyond your control that you can't change and this reinforces our arguments in other threads. I'm sorry I didn't reply to your one PM if that offended you, however, as I said, I get something like 15 PMs at least each day on top of tens of quotes. Managing PS help is my first priority then often I don't have time for anything else and if I do, its dealing with applicants queries. General chit chat discussion often doesn't come into it as I don't have the time like a normal user.

    All I'm saying is that when you're giving something as your opinion then you need to actually say its your opinion. You can not just pretend it is actual factual knowledge or truth when it isn't because otherwise its misleading. We deal with thousands of applicants on TSR and we need to ensure that everyone is given real factual information then opinion which is clearly given as opinion as personal experience often isn't the best form of advice. If you're not doing that, then its the job of the mods of the section you're posting in to bring that to your attention.
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    Ive wanted to be a teacher since i was little..and i love the idea of having the indepth study that the Ba can give me but i dont want to go through it all and come out the end with no job.
    The PGCE gives me wider job options and maybe not as much study as id like..

    Im basically back to square one with this decision..
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    Thank you to everyone though.. you've all really helped out
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    One option doesn't give you more chance of a job, they are of equal calibre. What you should consider is
    A) Where you want to study/live/work.
    B) Do you want to study 3 or 4 years?
    C) Which one gives you wider options.

    I have to admit that doing a degree then a PGCE would give you wider options if you wanted to leave teaching, but a PGCE is monsterously difficult to get on. The BA is not as competitive, but still tough.
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    In terms of content of the courses, which course in your opinion produces the better teachers?
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    That's a bit like saying who's smarter: Doctors or Binmen, it's down to the individual. I would certainly say that the BA gives you more time and more of a chance to gain knowledge. It will also give you more time in different schools as you have 3 years of moving around. This can be a big opportunity these days. If a job comes up in that school, you've been there and know the system they have, got to be good right? I would also say it is less stressful, as you COULD be doing up to 70 hours a week of travelling, essay writing and work if you go on the PGCE.

    This is my opinion but one option does not make you a better teacher. If you are rubbish, you'll always be rubbish. If, however, you are great this will be noticed. Good luck

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Updated: November 20, 2011
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